We have a bit of a mantra around here that gets thrown around more for the Area auditions: If it’s in the score and you don’t do it, you’re in trouble! Meaning….at this level, dynamics that are written in the score are no longer an added bonus, but a non-negotiable, just like pitch and rhythm. You only get bonus points if you go above and beyond.
Luckily, Gloria VI has possibly the most information in the score of all of the Gloria movements, regarding what the singer should do to shape the phrases.
Crescendos and Phrasing
Notice that oftentimes a set of words is set to the same or similar rhythm whenever it happens in this movement, like the others. I’d recommend assigning each phrase a unique character, like we have done in the past. This way, the beginning section in particular has some time to rest and not become shouty, loud, and boring with all of the big dynamic markings
“Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris”, (Thou who sits at the right hand of the Father,) *descriptive/grateful, notice that this tends to be longer quarter notes or running 8ths which lend themselves to legato singing.
“miserere nobis” (have mercy on us.) *Pleading, but the 8th notes make it seem even more like a command. Use a marcato feeling and connect deep into your support.
“Quoniam tu solus sanctus” (For Thou alone art holy,) *Reverence, praising, we are back to longer notes and legato singing!
“Tu solus Dominus” (You alone art Lord) *Energetic, notice the short 8ths are back in addition to a lot of ascending phrases!
“Tu solos altissimus, Jesu Christe!” (Thou alone art the most high, Jesus Christ.) *With conviction
“Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei patris. Amen.” (With the Holy Ghost in the glory of God the Father. Amen.) *With a sense of wonder, very legato!
The second, slower, section is a time to show off your most beautiful singing. Although it may not be in a range where you are comfortable singing, it also need not be too loud or pushed. The notes themselves form gorgeous gestures, so use this time to show off the beauty of your tone.
Consonants and Word Stress
Placing each ending consonant on the following rest communicates to judges that you know the exact value of each note. This practice also helps add a sophistication to your singing diction. I teach my students that consonants are your friends and can even help your breath support when performed correctly!
Word stress is another element that makes your Latin even more authentic. The biggest word to emphasize the stressed syllable on is PA-tris. Beginning in rehearsal 63 Poulenc composes almost every phrase with a louder dynamic on the stressed syllable. You’ll also want to keep those vowels pure, because sometimes a neutral, non specific vowel can also trick our ears into hearing an unaccented syllable.
Altos and Tenors: Careful to not hold the fermata too long on one measure before rehearsal 58. You should breathe after ‘-men’ and then enter exactly on ‘qui’
Sopranos: Don’t get complacent on Page 26, those two phrases feel similar but the first interval can trip you up if you’re not careful!
**On that note, lots of you will make mistakes, especially regarding subbing in one tune for the other when you have the same words repeated. Stay engaged in your practice and take note when you do this by accident!
Tenors and Basses: Don’t let the 16th notes on page 28 get sloppy!
Soprano 2s: Watch that tricky measure before rehearsal 63!
All: Last measure of page 30…..for some reason the counting here stumps lots of people! Write in those counts.
Tenors and Sopranos: Two measures before 67, make sure you observe all of those teeny 8th rests!
Bass 1’s: Careful 2 measures after rehearsal 67 that you sing the words above the bass line (and above the English text).
All: Rehearsal 70, careful not to hold the half note too long. Listen to bass line in piano pulsing the beat to know when to change notes.